106 user 118 critic

City of Ember (2008)

For generations, the people of the City of Ember have flourished in an amazing world of glittering lights. But Ember's once powerful generator is failing ... and the great lamps that illuminate the city are starting to flicker.



(screenplay), (book)
3,800 ( 567)

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From $2.99 (SD) on Amazon Video

6 nominations. See more awards »





Complete credited cast:
Rest of cast listed alphabetically:
Liam Burke ...
Mr. Boaz
Brid Ni Chionaola ...
Seely Schnap
Maureen Dow ...
Mrs. Sample
Lorraine Hilton ...
B.J. Hogg ...
Mayor's Guard


When mankind is about to come to an end, a group of scientists decide to create and populate a city deep underground. The city of Ember is to last for 200 years after which its inhabitants are to retrieve from a strong box instructions to return to the surface. Over time however, the message is lost and life in Ember is rapidly deteriorating. Their power supply is failing and food is being rationed. It's left to two young adults to unearth the secret of Ember and to lead the way out. Written by garykmcd

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Plot Keywords:

food | box | scientist | mayor | pipeworks | See All (161) »


Escape Is The Only Option See more »

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated PG for mild peril and some thematic elements | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:





Release Date:

10 October 2008 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Cidade das Sombras  »

Box Office


$55,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend:

CAD 222,193 (Canada) (12 October 2008)


$7,873,007 (USA) (15 January 2009)

Company Credits

Production Co:

,  »
Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

| |


Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
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Did You Know?


When Doon gets his first glimpse of the generator, the camera views it from our perspective instead. Director Gil Kenan did it this way because Doon acts as our eyes and it conveys to us the importance of the generator to his city and our story. See more »


(at around 29 mins) When Looper gives Lina a message for the mayor, he says: "Your ship is in." In Ember they don't know what a boat or a ship is, because all the knowledge of the world above has been lost. So you might think it odd that they might know the meaning of a phrase like 'your ship is in'. But the English of today contains many phrases which are perfectly well understood despite people not knowing their origins or even the meanings of words in the phrase (eg "hoist by your own petard"), so it's actually quite normal. See more »


Lina Mayfleet: [fearfully] What... was that?
See more »


Referenced in Fred: Fred: A Star in His Own Mind (2008) See more »


Mayor's Fanfare
Written and Performed by Douglas Pipes
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

See more (Spoiler Alert!) »

User Reviews

Flawed... but with enough of its own to separate it from the flock
25 February 2009 | by See all my reviews

Had some trouble deciding my rating on this one. There is much about it to like, for sure, but there are also some flaws that cant be overlooked. It has great setting and atmosphere, an intriguing plot and charm to boot. Such things scores a lot with me. The directing is at times questionable though, there is little sense of pacing and there are some parts that feel tacked on (the crazy flumride anybody)just because its supposed to be a summerfranchie. The cute little girl is completely superfluous, and Bill Murray and Treadaway's Doon doesn't make enough with their characters (or isn't allowed too). One thing is clear. Its strenghs of this film mostly resides within the source material(witch i haven't read though). Its really nice for a change to see a fantasy film without a lot of monsters, the enemies here are brain-stagnation, greed and selfishness. Some parts had me snickering. The parts where they are handed there jobs through lottery (a jab at communism?)and the old man with the pipes. THe story is actually pretty good, not original, but tightly woven and deceivingly fresh with a timely message. In short, the source-material had the brains, but the director lacked the guts (or maybe just the talent, or were assasinated by his studio) too go through with it.

Still, it beats the latest Narnia installment, and the latest Harry Potter too for that matter. Also, Ronan, the kid from Atonement, turns in a good performance.

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